Norfolk Musketts. Where to start?
I referred in my second blog post to the ‘large Muskett family tree’ deposited at Kirby Hall, of which we also have a copy. It is vast, and it is only part of the picture. My father-in-law has, over the years, gathered and put together numerous other trees, which don’t necessarily tie in with each other.
Our own line is established back to an Andrew Muskett of Shelfanger and Thelton, born in the late 17th century. He is thought to be descended from the Musketts of Haughley, Suffolk, as described in Suffolk Manorial Families. David, my husband, is descended via John of Tharston, Thomas of Gressenhall, and three generations of Thomas of Attleborough.
For him, though, the research part of our Norfolk sojourn was partly about attempting to establish a link between the Musketts from Carleton Rode and ‘his’ Musketts. Some of these emigrated to Tasmania in the 19th century, and we are now in touch with some of their descendants.
On our tour of some of the Muskett villages we visited Ashwellthorpe, where we spotted an intriguing signpost to ‘Audrey Muskett cottages’ and Tacolneston and thence to Carleton Rode. We had seen a plan of the Carleton Rode graveyard and knew that there were Musketts buried there, but the plan seemed to indicate a sort of extension, which we could not find. Having searched for Musketts without trace, we decided to continue on to the next village when, by pure chance, down the road we spotted a completely separate plot with more graves.
Thrilled that we had actually found this ‘graveyard extension’, we parked up to investigate. And there we found the graves of Bishop Muskett (yes, that really was his first name) and his wife Ann, who died in 1901 and 1898 respectively. Both gravestones are well preserved.
Interestingly, though, Bishop Muskett seems to have emigrated to Tasmania and then returned! He appears in the Tasmania, Australia, Immigrant Lists 1841 – 1884 on Ancestry. A 28 year old single man and farm labourer, Bishop sailed on the ‘Southern Eagle’, arriving in Launceston, Tasmania, on the 28th August 1857. However, by 1865 he was back in Norfolk as that is when he married Ann.
Bishop Muskett had a brother called James. James and his wife Eliza (neé Moss) also emigrated to Tasmania, arriving just before Bishop on 18 August 1857. They settled in Franklin. It is from James that the Tasmanian Musketts are descended. Unfortunately we are no nearer working out the connection with ‘our’ Musketts!
So from our discoveries at Carleton Rode it was on to Tasburg, one of Norfolk’s Round Tower churches
and then Newton Flotman, where we found some more Muskett graves. Photo This time they were badly damaged, but we were able to record the inscriptions before they deteriorate further. They gave us some useful clues about family connections including a reference to Andrew Muskett of Thelverton and Charles Muskett of Pressingfield, Suffolk. Another grave gave us information about James Muskett’s death at Kenningham Hall, Mulbarton in 1864. This called for a slight diversion to find and photograph the Ancestral Hall.
All in all, an intriguing and worthwhile Muskett tour, and one that we need to extend on our next Norfolk visit.